The term arthritis is commonly associated with joint pain, stiffness, swelling, soreness and inflammation but it actually represents over 200 debilitating conditions that affect the muscles, joints and connective tissues. Arthritis can be very difficult and painful for the elderly population to deal with and so, family members and caregivers must be familiar with the condition. Understanding the different types of arthritis can help caregivers know exactly what to expect and how to assist their loved ones better.
Arthritis can be classified into two main types: Inflammatory arthritis and non-inflammatory arthritis, each of which affects different areas of the body and has different underlying causes.
Inflammatory arthritis is an autoimmune disease and is commonly known as rheumatoid arthritis. In most cases, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the healthy tissues of the body resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, and in certain cases joint deformities.
Non-inflammatory arthritis is referred to as osteoarthritis and commonly affects the spine, hands, hips and knees. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear and occurs due to the breakdown of protective tissues that cushion the joint bones or the cartilage that lines the joints.
The major differences between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis:
|Rheumatoid Arthritis (Inflammatory Arthritis)||
Osteoarthritis (Non-inflammatory Arthritis)
|Cause||What triggers rheumatoid arthritis is not known but hormones and genetics are known to contribute to this autoimmune condition.||This is a degenerative joint disorder caused due to the wearing of the cartilage that cushions the joints. Aging, obesity, injuries and chronic damage can also contribute to this condition.|
|Symptoms||Excessive weakness and fatigue along with muscle aches.||Stiffness, swelling and limited range of motion in joints particularly in the hips, lower back and knees.|
|Diagnosis||Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, doctors need to conduct blood tests to assess the association of antibodies with RA.||Magnetic resonance imaging technology and X-rays are used to examine the condition of the cartilage for an accurate diagnosis.|
|Area Affected||Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects fingers and hands but can also cause fatigue and adversely impact other working parts of the body.||Osteoarthritis is degenerative in nature and its impact is limited to the joints including the hands, spine, hips, and knees.|
|Treatment||Rheumatoid arthritis is treated using physical therapy, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids.||The treatment for osteoarthritis revolves around relieving pain and improving mobility and muscle strength. Pain relieving medications are used to alleviate mild flare-ups and in advanced stages, a joint replacement surgery may be recommended.|
Seniors suffering from persistent joint pain and soreness upon waking might be suffering from arthritis. These symptoms can adversely impact their quality of life and disrupt their daily routine. Caregivers can assist them with their hospital check-ups, medications, diet, and light exercising. Living with arthritis can also be made manageable with copper compression gear. Designed specifically for arthritis sufferers, copper compression gloves provide the necessary pressure on the painful points and also facilitate a full range of motion allowing the elders to complete their daily activities without experiencing any pain or discomfort. The copper infused in these compression gloves will help reduce the inflammation and lessen the joint pain induced by arthritis. Caring for a loved one can get difficult at times and this is where copper compression gear can help by making their daily life relatively easier and pain-free.
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